Alfa Romeo driver set to secure F1 future

Formula 1’s first Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu has impressed after his strong qualifying session in Hungary.

Alfa Romeo faces a critical decision as Zhou Guanyu’s current contract is set to expire at the end of the 2023 F1 season. 

The Chinese driver, F1’s first-ever fully fledged talent from China, has shown significant progress in his second year, earning praise and support for a contract renewal for the 2024 season.

During his rookie season in 2022, Zhou had a relatively quiet performance, but he has impressively built upon that foundation in his second year. 

In the recent Hungarian Grand Prix, his outstanding qualifying performance secured him the fifth position on the grid as the leading Ferrari-powered driver. 

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However, a poor start overshadowed his achievements, leading to speculation about the cause.

Le Mans winner Richard Bradley, speaking on the On Track GP podcast, dismissed the notion of driver error, suggesting an electronics issue might be the culprit. 

“I don’t think it was driver error. I think it was an electronics issue,” Bradley explained. 

He clarified that in typical scenarios, the steering wheel and display provide clear warnings when anti-stall is activated or unusual driving inputs occur.

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Bradley continued to praise Zhou, stating that the Alfa Romeo driver is often underrated. 

Despite driving a mid-pack car, Zhou has consistently challenged his more experienced teammate, Valtteri Bottas, over the last two years. 

Examining Zhou’s junior racing career, Bradley commended the young driver’s approach to racing, emphasising his intelligence and likability. 

“He has got the potential, and I think that he did a very, very good job on Saturday,” Bradley said.

Joining the podcast conversation, motorsport broadcaster Rachael Downie also expressed her admiration for Zhou’s skills and personality. 

She believes that Zhou has performed admirably in the Alfa Romeo, given the limitations of the car’s performance. 

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Downie echoed Bradley’s sentiments, supporting the idea of keeping Zhou on the F1 grid for the 2024 season.

Zhou’s progress and potential have caught the attention of many in the F1 community, with fans and experts alike appreciating his determination and racing acumen. 

As Alfa Romeo contemplates their driver lineup for the next season, the calls for extending Zhou Guanyu’s contract are growing louder.